B-29286, OCTOBER 13, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 342

B-29286: Oct 13, 1942

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- RATHER THAN TO HIS DESIGNATED PERMANENT DUTY STATION AT WHICH NO PERFORMANCE OF DUTY IS CONTEMPLATED. SUCH TEMPORARY FIELD OFFICE IS PROPER FOR REGARDING AS HIS FIRST DUTY STATION. 1942: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 22. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS BEFORE ME AS AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER A CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES SUBMITTED BY MR. THIS PROJECT IS BEING OPERATED BY THE FOREST SERVICE ON FUNDS ADVANCED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT FOR MAPPING STRATEGIC AREAS. CLAIM IN THE AMOUNT OF $76.25 AND A CERTIFIED COPY OF THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION ARE ATTACHED HERETO. LAW WAS HIRED FOR FIELD DUTY WITH THE EXPECTATION THAT HE WOULD SPEND ALL OF HIS TIME IN THE FIELD TRAVELING FROM PLACE TO PLACE IN CALIFORNIA WHILE PERFORMING MAPPING WORK.

B-29286, OCTOBER 13, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 342

SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEMS - ITINERANT FIELD EMPLOYEES WHERE A NEWLY APPOINTED EMPLOYEE, ASSIGNED TO DUTY REQUIRING SUBSTANTIALLY CONTINUOUS TRAVEL FROM PLACE TO PLACE IN THE FIELD, REPORTS FOR DUTY AT A TEMPORARY FIELD OFFICE--- RATHER THAN TO HIS DESIGNATED PERMANENT DUTY STATION AT WHICH NO PERFORMANCE OF DUTY IS CONTEMPLATED--- AND ACTUALLY PERFORMS SOME DUTY AT THAT PLACE, SUCH TEMPORARY FIELD OFFICE IS PROPER FOR REGARDING AS HIS FIRST DUTY STATION, AND, UPON LEAVING SUCH STATION UNDER COMPETENT TRAVEL ORDERS, PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ACCRUES, EVEN DURING OCCASIONAL PERIODS WHEN THE EMPLOYEE RETURNS TO THE FIRST DUTY STATION, SO LONG AS HIS TRAVEL STATUS CONTINUES, BUT PER DIEM MUST CEASE UPON ARRIVAL AT HIS TRUE, DESIGNATED PERMANENT DUTY STATION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO E. V. LACKEY, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, OCTOBER 13, 1942:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 22, 1942 (A, DISBURSEMENT, R-5, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE), AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS BEFORE ME AS AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER A CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES SUBMITTED BY MR. STUART E. LAW, AN ASSISTANT ENGINEERING AIDE, EMPLOYED BY THE FOREST SERVICE ON A WAR MAPPING PROJECT. THIS PROJECT IS BEING OPERATED BY THE FOREST SERVICE ON FUNDS ADVANCED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT FOR MAPPING STRATEGIC AREAS. CLAIM IN THE AMOUNT OF $76.25 AND A CERTIFIED COPY OF THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION ARE ATTACHED HERETO.

MR. LAW WAS HIRED FOR FIELD DUTY WITH THE EXPECTATION THAT HE WOULD SPEND ALL OF HIS TIME IN THE FIELD TRAVELING FROM PLACE TO PLACE IN CALIFORNIA WHILE PERFORMING MAPPING WORK. HIS DUTIES REQUIRE HIS STAYING AT EACH POINT FOR A PERIOD OF FROM TWO DAYS TO AS MUCH AS A MONTH. IT WAS UNDERSTOOD AT THE TIME OF HIRE THAT HE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE WHILE AT THESE FIELD POINTS.

THE ONLY HEADQUARTERS ESTABLISHED FOR THE DURATION OF THIS PROJECT ARE LOCATED AT SAN FRANCISCO, AND IT WAS ASSUMED THAT THE EMPLOYEES' HEADQUARTERS WOULD BE THIS POINT, ON THE BASIS OF A PREVIOUS COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S DECISION OF JANUARY 17, 1936 (15 C.G. 624) IN WHICH HE STATED THAT THE HEADQUARTERS OF "ITINERANT TOPOGRAPHIC ENGINEERS OF THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY" SHOULD BE WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR LACK OF ANY OTHER PROPER HEADQUARTERS. IN THIS DECISION, PER DIEM CLAIM WAS NOT ALLOWED AT THE FIRST DUTY POINT IN THE FIELD. THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS OF THIS PROJECT ARE FOLLOWING THE SAME POLICY. THE EMPLOYEES, HOWEVER, WERE DIRECTED TO REPORT TO FIELD POINTS INSTEAD OF TO SAN FRANCISCO FOR REASONS OF ECONOMY TO THE GOVERNMENT AND TO GET THE PROJECT UNDER WAY WITH THE LEAST DELAY IN THE PRESENT NATIONAL EMERGENCY. THE TEMPORARY OFFICE WAS ESTABLISHED AT MARICOPA, CALIFORNIA, TO WHICH SOME EMPLOYEES WERE DIRECTED TO REPORT. THEY REPORTED TO THIS OFFICE AND WERE DISPATCHED TO FIELD POINTS. SOME WERE DISPATCHED WITHIN A FEW HOURS AFTER ARRIVAL AND DID NOT RETURN TO THIS POINT AGAIN. OTHERS WERE DISPATCHED AFTER A SHORT PERIOD OF FROM ONE TO FOUR DAYS' DUTY AT MARICOPA BEFORE BEING SENT TO FIELD DUTY POINTS AND THEN RETURNED AGAIN TO MARICOPA FOR FURTHER DUTY.

THE CLAIM OF MR. LAW, ATTACHED, STATES THAT HE REPORTED TO MARICOPA FOR DUTY AT 8:00 A.M., JUNE 4, 1942, AND LEFT THERE THIRTY MINUTES LATER FOR DUTY AT A GOVERNMENT-SUBSISTED CAMP WHERE HE STAYED UNTIL 1:00 P.M., RETURNING TO MARICOPA AT 1:30 P.M. THE FOLLOWING TWO DAYS AND A PORTION OF THE THIRD DAY WERE SPENT AT MARICOPA AFTER WHICH THE EMPLOYEE WENT TO OTHER FIELD POINTS, RETURNING TO MARICOPA ON JUNE 23, 1942, AT 8:00 A.M. FOR DUTY LASTING APPROXIMATELY SIX DAYS.

MR. LAW WAS DIRECTED IN HIS APPOINTMENT ORDERS TO REPORT TO MARICOPA ALTHOUGH HE WAS ASSIGNED TO HEADQUARTERS AT SAN FRANCISCO. MARICOPA WAS NOT A PERMANENT FIELD HEADQUARTERS.

THE PER DIEM CLAIM ATTACHED INCLUDES ALL TIME IN THE FIELD, STARTING WITH THE DEPARTURE FROM MARICOPA AT 8:30 A.M., JUNE 4. IS IT PROPER TO CERTIFY THE ACCOUNT AS SUBMITTED INCLUDING DAYS SPENT AT MARICOPA IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THIS WAS THE FIRST DUTY STATION TO WHICH THIS EMPLOYEE REPORTED?

THE TRAVEL ORDER ( NO. 478 R-5) ISSUED TO MR. LAW IS DATED JUNE 3, 1942, AND READS AS FOLLOWS:

OFFICIAL STATION SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA. BEGINNING ON OR ABOUT: JUNE 3, 1942. ENDING ON OR ABOUT: JUNE 30,1942. ITINERARY: POINTS THROUGHOUT REGION 5 AND ADJACENT AREAS IN CALIFORNIA AND OREGON. PURPOSE: DEFENSE MAPPING PROJECT. PER DIEM ALLOWANCE: $3.00 -- EXCEPT THAT UPON ARRIVING IN A GOVERNMENT SUBSISTED CAMP, PER DIEM WILL BE REDUCED TO $1.00 AND ONE- FIFTH PER DIEM DEDUCTION WILL BE MADE FOR EACH MEAL AND LODGING WHILE IN CAMP. THE PARAGRAPHS APPLICABLE UNDER THIS AUTHORITY ARE-------------- NO. 3.

INDICATE PARAGRAPHS

3. PURCHASE NECESSARY SUPPLIES AND INCUR NECESSARY INCIDENTAL EXPENSES.

THE MATTER HERE PRESENTED IS CLOSELY AKIN TO THE SITUATION PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER, DATED AUGUST 13, 1942 (A/DISBURSEMENT, R-5, GENERAL), IN THE CASE OF MR. J. ROBERT JONES, PRINCIPAL ENGINEERING AIDE, EMPLOYED BY THE FOREST SERVICE ON A WAR MAPPING PROJECT WHICH WAS THE SUBJECT MATTER OF THE DECISION DATED SEPTEMBER 5, 1942, B-28501. IN THAT DECISION THE FOLLOWING QUESTION AND ANSWER WERE STATED:

"IS IT PROPER TO ALLOW PER DIEM TO START UPON LEAVING THE FIRST POINT TO WHICH HE WAS DIRECTED TO REPORT IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE ACCOUNT SHOWS HE SPENT ONLY ONE HOUR THERE ON OFFICIAL ORK?

AS IT IS SHOWN ON THE VOUCHER PRESENTED, AND IN YOUR LETTER, THAT MR. JONES WAS DIRECTED TO, AND DID REPORT FOR DUTY AT BAKERSFIELD AND ACTUALLY PERFORMED DUTY AT THAT PLACE, EVEN THOUGH FOR ONLY ONE HOUR, BAKERSFIELD IS PROPERLY FOR REGARDING AS HIS FIRST DUTY STATION, AND UNDER THE RULE STATED IN THE CITED DECISIONS, HE IS ENTITLED TO TRAVELING EXPENSES, INCLUDING PER DIEM, FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL FROM THE TIME HE LEFT THAT PLACE. YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

UNDER THE HOLDING IN THAT DECISION AS APPLIED IN THE INSTANT CASE, MR. LAW WAS IN A TRAVEL STATUS AND ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FROM THE TIME HE LEFT MARICOPA, CALIFORNIA, THE PLACE WHERE HE FIRST ENTERED UPON DUTY.

THE SECOND QUESTION PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 13, 1942--- NOT ANSWERED IN THE DECISION, SUPRA, FOR THE REASON THAT YOU HAD PRESENTED NO VOUCHER INVOLVING THE QUESTION--- WAS AS FOLLOWS:

IS BAKERSFIELD, THE FIRST DUTY POINT, CONSIDERED A POINT AT WHICH HE MAY NOT CLAIM PER DIEM SHOULD HE RETURN TO THIS POINT AT SOME FUTURE TIME FOR OFFICIAL DUTY?

THAT QUESTION IS INVOLVED IN THE INSTANT CASE AS IT IS SHOWN THAT MR. LAW RETURNED TO MARICOPA, CALIFORNIA, AND PERFORMED DUTY AT THAT PLACE AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED HEADQUARTERS AT SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA.

PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE DOES NOT ACCRUE WHILE A NEWLY APPOINTED EMPLOYEE REMAINS AT THE PARTICULAR POINT TO WHICH HE FIRST REPORTS FOR DUTY BECAUSE AN ACTUAL TRAVEL STATUS HAS NOT YET BEGUN. HOWEVER, UPON HIS LEAVING SUCH POINT UPON PROPER ORDERS, PER DIEM MAY ACCRUE SO LONG AS HIS TRAVEL STATUS CONTINUES (REGARDLESS OF WHETHER HE MAY RETURN THERETO ON CERTAIN OCCASIONS), PROVIDED ONLY THAT PER DIEM MUST CEASE UPON HIS ARRIVAL AT HIS TRUE, DESIGNATED PERMANENT DUTY STATION. IN OTHER WORDS, THE "FIRST DUTY STATION" MAY OR MAY NOT BE THE "PERMANENT DUTY STATION," DEPENDING UPON THE SURROUNDING FACTS, AND IF IT IS NOT, THERE IS NO REASON TO DENY PER DIEM UPON RETURN THERE AFTER HIS ORIGINAL DEPARTURE THEREFROM. COMPARE 19 COMP. GEN. 347. THE DESIGNATION OF SAN FRANCISCO AS THE PERMANENT DUTY STATION IS NOT NECESSARILY DETERMINATIVE, BUT APPEARS UNOBJECTIONABLE IN THE PRESENT CASE SINCE, FROM THE FACTS DISCLOSED, IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT MARICOPA OR ANY OTHER POINT IS THE TRUE PERMANENT POST. ACCORDINGLY, PER DIEM IS PAYABLE FOR TEMPORARY DUTY THERE AS WELL AS ELSEWHERE, AND THE VOUCHER, RETURNED HEREWITH, PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.